Dodoma — THE Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, has said that his ministry will flush out all corrupt elements in Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) and turn the firm into an economically productive entity.
Winding up the debate on his ministry's annual budget estimates for 2012/13 in the National Assembly on Saturday, Prof Muhongo said Tanesco had few greedy officials who colluded with equally greedy individuals in its Board of Directors and some legislators. He asked the House to endorse a total expenditure of 641,269,729,000/-.
He told the legislators that the ministry would need 531,190,861,000/- for development expenditure and 110,078,868,000/- for recurrent expenditure. The House endorsed the estimates unanimously despite the heated debate that raged for two days centring on allegations of Tanesco's mismanagement of funds and haphazard handling of power generation.
The MPs were also bitter about the erratic mineral sector. He raised quite a stink in the august House when he said that at one time some unscrupulous officials in Tanesco pretended to be importing spare parts from UK worth 50,000 British sterling pounds but what was actually delivered was a box of nails.
The minister also said that the ministry had discovered that some corrupt Tanesco officials shipped electricity transmission poles produced in Iringa to the port of Mombasa (in Kenya) and re-imported them. The poles arrived back in the country bearing South African labels. The trick here is that the poles are imported from South Africa.
Without mentioning any names, the minister also caused a stir in the House when he said that some Members of Parliament sold to Tanesco substandard or fake motor vehicle tyres. The ministry has also unearthed a diabolical Ghost Vending System through which some big-time customers stole electricity using Luku meters. Some were found with a lot of units registered in the meters which do not reflect in Tanesco monitoring systems. Investigation showed that the culprits include St Mary's International Schools which had consumed electricity worth 10.5m/- without paying.
The other suspect, the minister said, is Access Bank of Dar es Salaam which had consumed 13.8m/- worth of electricity without paying. The other illegal consumers among an unknown number, was a hotel registered in the name of one Phillipo Ngunda which had consumed electricity worth 25.3m/- without paying.
Prof. Muhongo told the House that the thefts were only a tip of the iceberg. The minister also mentioned that Tanesco's suspended Managing Director, Mr William Mhando signed a contract on behalf of the company, between him and his wife Eva Mhando, the proprietor of M/S Santa Clara Supplies Company. The contract was worth 884,550,000/-.
At one time Eva Mhando was working in the stores section in Tanesco. Prof. Muhongo said that the directors of Ms Santa Clara are Mr Mhando's two sons.Prof. Muhongo told the House that it was high time Tanzania established a gold reserve. He said that nations that had the future at heart deposited gold in their reserves.
He said Germany comes second with 3,396.6 tonnes of gold. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has 2,811.1 tonnes; Italy has 2,451.8 tonnes; France possesses 2,435 tonnes; China has 1,054 tonnes; South Africa has 125 tonnes and Malawi has 0.2 tonnes.